A Visiting card is a small, printed, usually credit-card-sized paper card that holds your business details, such as name, contact details and brand logo. Your visiting card design is an essential part of your branding and should act as a visual extension of your brand design.
In this guide, we’ll run through everything you need to know about visiting card design so you can tell your designer exactly what you want. Visiting cards should above all be personal, so this guide explains what your options are for the card that’s most… you.
But before we get into the 8 steps of Visiting card design, let’s talk a little about what you’ll need before you start.
f American Psycho has taught us nothing else, it’s the importance of visiting cards.
Business Visiting Card
These business multi-tools fulfill many of the professional’s basic needs: advertising, brand recognition, call-to-action, and of course contact information. When designed right, these pocket-sized billboards can leave a lasting impression and create life-long customers from passing strangers.
There’s one other preliminary activity that makes the rest of the visiting card design process run more smoothly. You need to know what you want to communicate. What kind of brand are you, as an individual or business? What do you want your business card to say, not just with words, but with the design?
Create Visiting Card
This is also a topic worthy of its own discussion, so if you want to dive deeper, here’s a shortlist of questions to ask yourself for determining your personal brand identity. Taking a few minutes of reflection about your personal brand will help with some business card design questions down the line, particularly when it comes to displaying your personality.
How to design a Visiting card in 8 steps —
Once you have your logo, brand color scheme, and a good idea of what you want your card to say about you, you’re ready to start. Just follow the 8 steps below to determine which business card design would work best for you.
1. Choose your shape
If you’ve already decided on a traditional rectangular business card, you can skip ahead to the second step. If, however, you want to learn about all your options, even outside-the-box strategies, keep reading.
As printing techniques grow more advanced and affordable, professionals have more room to explore alternative shapes. The printing technique of die-cutting allows you to cut out any shape you want and still print in bulk.
On the conservative end of the spectrum, you could simply round the corners for a friendlier business card.
But if you really want to be playful or stand-out, you can use virtually any shape: animal mascots, outlines of products your sell, or a shape that’s wholly original.
You can even build your entire business card theme around clever cutting. Cireson’s business card design uses shape to really highlight the employee picture, giving them a more personable and therefore approachable feel.
Whether or not to use creative shapes depends on the image you want to convey. Special shapes make you seem more fun and help you make an impression, but can have an adverse effect on more formal industries. You’ll also want to keep in mind logistics, such as how the card fits in a wallet.
You may want to revisit the option of die-cutting after finalizing your design in step 6. For example, some companies such as STIR above like to die-cut areas of their logo.
2. Choose your size
Your next decision is the size of the card. This mostly depends on the standard of the country, so that’s a good place to start. Even if you plan to stand out, you have to know what everyone else is doing to go against it.
- North American Standard: 3.5 × 2 in. (88.9 × 50.8 mm)
- European Standard: 3.346 × 2.165 in. (85 × 55 mm)
- Oceania Standard: 3.54 × 2.165 in. (90 × 55 mm)
No matter the size, you always want to consider three factors when designing:
- Bleed area: the outermost part of the card likely to be removed.
- Trim line: the target line for cutting cards.
- Safety line: anything outside this line is subject to cutting mistakes. Don’t let essential elements like text or logos fall outside this line.
While these areas vary depending on the size and printer, a safe bet is to set the trim line at 0.125 in. (3 mm) from the edge. From there, set the safety line at 0.125 in. (3 mm) from the trim line. That’s 0.250 in (6 mm) total from the edge of the bleed area to the inside of the safety area.
3. Add your logo and other graphics
Now we begin plotting the visual elements of your business card design, first and foremost the logo. Your logo should take center stage on your business card, although other flourishes and secondary graphics can sometimes be useful as well.
Don’t forget that you have two sides at your disposal. One strategy is to dedicate one side of the business card exclusively to the logo, while the other side showcases the contact information of the person. However, it’s also good to have the logo on both sides, so often you’ll see a smaller, out-of-the-way logo on the side with contact information, as with Omni above.
This is just one strategy of many, though, so feel free to experiment with logo placement until you find one for your tastes.
While minimalism is a popular choice for business cards, if that empty space doesn’t suit you, you can fill it with additional graphics. In an industry like children’s clothing, Londees wants to take its cute theme as far as it will go: they expand on their sheep mascot by placing sheep doodles all over, and use a faded background to avoid clutter (also notice the use of soft blue, a playful and kid-friendly color). Even if your logo is simple or text only, any related imagery serves the same ends.
Additional graphics work well for showing off your brand identity. Without explicitly saying it, you can communicate your or your brand’s personality through visuals, including colors. For example, if you want to seem casual or approachable, a cute cartoon and some bright colors would do the trick.
Another increasingly popular trend is to instill interest and curiosity by leaving a little mystery. Typically, brands place a wordless visual with a URL on one side, and then all the necessary explanation (including brand name and employee’s name) on the other.
4. Add necessary text
What your business card actually says depends on you. Work-from-home freelancers may have no need for a postal address, while professions that consult face-to-face require it. Or maybe it’s a strategic choice, such as drawing attention to your impressive social media following. The point is, different people benefit from different text on their business cards.
So the next step is for you to decide what to put on your business card. Below is a list of some common choices, so you can decide which to include and exclude.
- Name – A given. Every card needs a name.
- Company name – Another given, except for personal brands, in which case your personal name is your company name.
- Job title – For traditional cards, include your job title. This also helps remind the holder of who you are, what you do, and even how your met.
- Phone number – Even if phone is not your preferred method of communication, it is to some people.
- Email – A business card staple; email is the new norm for non-urgent business communications, partially because it allows sending documents as attachments.
- Website URL – Including your site URL is a non-aggressive invitation for visits.
- Social media – If social media is relevant to your field, or you just want to show a bit of your personality, include social media links.
- Address – Necessary for drawing customers into your office or store location.
- QR code – While not as popular as years past, a QR code is still a viable shortcut to transferring whatever data you desire.
- Slogan – Completely optional, a slogan helps with brand identity and adds a little personality.
Remember that business cards aren’t just about giving information but also retaining it. People may already know your number, address, or URL, but keep your card handy in case they forget it.
5. Choose your typography
Once you know what you want to say, you can choose how it looks. While typography is always important, it’s especially pertinent to business cards since you have to make text completely legible and have only a small space to work with.